Royal Borough threat to future of East Berkshire Health Services

 The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has announced it is challenging the decision to set up a brand new Urgent Care Centre serving the whole of East Berkshire.

Cllr Dale Birch, deputy leader of Bracknell Forest Council and executive member for Adult Social Care, Housing and Health, said today: "This is a sad and destructive threat to essential health service reforms planned for the whole of East Berkshire. If Windsor and Maidenhead get their way then residents in Slough, Windsor, Ascot and Bracknell will lose out on planned improvements to their health services.

“All clinical evidence points to the need to decommission Heatherwood Hospital’s ageing and costly Minor Injuries Unit and replace it with a new and state-of-the art Urgent Care Centre at the planned Bracknell and Ascot HealthSpace. But this is only one part of wider reforms required to maintain the financial viability and clinical excellence of all East Berkshire's acute health services.

“Support for the new Urgent Care facility is coming from across the health service, including local GPs, Clinical Commissioning Groups and hospitals, all trusted professionals who care about local health services and understand what their patients need. Reductions in pressure on hard-pressed local A&E services will be an important additional benefit” commented Cllr Birch.

“The out of date facilities at Heatherwood are now a massive drain on taxpayers’ money and do not meet the health needs of East Berkshire communities” he continued.

“Instead of joining with health professionals in delivering much needed health service improvements, Windsor and Maidenhead’s attempt to protect obsolete facilities at Heatherwood is jeopardising wider health care reforms across the whole of East Berkshire.

“We are all stunned at the Royal Borough’s efforts to preserve old, inefficient and costly facilities at Heatherwood. Their actions could cost their taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds and deny large communities the high quality health services they are entitled to. Money for patient care will now have to go on paying lawyers fees, and that can’t be right.

“We fully support our health partners in fighting what is an ill-judged and costly challenge. We will do everything possible to ensure that much-needed health improvements for the whole of East Berkshire are not blocked by the Royal Borough.”